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My Puppy Keeps Chewing What Do I Do?
by Jeanneane Kutsukos

First, always keep in mind that it is natural for a puppy to chew. The puppy is not doing this to annoy you, but because it is a normal function of a puppy, just as it is in a human baby. Keep this in mind, and be sure not to ever hit or strongly punish the puppy for doing what is natural to it. Everything goes into the mouth, and everything is chewed.

Chew Toys!

What we need to do is to teach the puppy what is correct to chew on, and what is not. Be sure to supply your puppy with a variety of toys that are permissible for it to chew. Nylabones are excellent, but stay away from the ones with the sharp points on them. Watch carefully! When the knobs on the end are gone, you have to throw it away. There is also a Nylaring that costs a little more but lasts a lot longer. In recent years, manufacturers are making bones out of vegetables and meat flavors.
These are even better because your puppy can eat the entire thing and
the vegetable items are probably better for your puppy.

Another good item is the Kong, which is made of hard rubber and lasts a long time. Please keep in mind that cheap toys are not worth the money, the puppy can destroy them too easily and can choke on the pieces that it chews. Chew ropes are also good, but again, watch to see if it starts coming apart. Take it away immediately at that point. Squeaky toys are also handy, but again, you must be careful to throw it away when it starts to get a hole. The squeaker can choke the puppy.

Teach Your Puppy What it CAN Chew!

Always have one of his chew toys handy. Each time the puppy chews on something other than one of the toys, firmly tell the puppy "no" and give the puppy one of his own chew toys. When the puppy starts chewing on the proper item, say "Good Puppy" (Good boy or good girl is fine also.) This teaches it what is acceptable to chew on and what is not.

The “Ouch” Method

Anytime the puppy is biting, and especially during a play session, say "ouch" and immediately stop playing. This lets the puppy know that the biting is unacceptable. This method is called "ouching" and everyone in the family should do it.

The Puppy-Proof Method

Use your intelligence to help keep the puppy away from unwanted chewing. If the pup chews on shoes, keep them in your closet with the door closed. Keep books and other chewables out of the pup’s reach. Go through your home (on your hands and knees if necessary) and look to see what is tempting for your puppy to chew on. Eliminate any unsafe or inappropriate items.

The Bitter Apple Method

Another handy aide to help prevent chewing -- is a product called Bitter Apple. It can be purchased at pet stores and through pet catalogs. Be sure to spot test it prior to spraying on a good piece of furniture. It must be reapplied daily, as it wears off in approximately 24 hours. There is also a Bitter Apple available for furniture that lasts longer than the 24 hours.

Puppy's Toy Box

You can have a toy box for your puppy and have all the toys kept in it. Then they are handy and you also know where to get one when you need one. The pup will eventually learn where they are and get a toy out by itself. Every once in a while, put a little treat (milk bones are great!) in the toy box to get the pup used to looking in it.

Be sure to use lots of praise anytime the pup is doing something right, whether it is chewing on the right toy, eliminating outside, sitting when told, etc.

Written and Contributed by Jeanneane Kutsukos,
Elite K9 Academy
Jupiter, FL

Copyright 10/2/97

Should You Purchase a German Shepherd?
by Jeanneane Kutsukos


My husband and I are proprietors of a training facility, and we also breed black German Shepherd Dogs. When we meet prospective clients for a puppy sale, we cover the following points to help them decide if they are really ready for a puppy.

There are several questions that need to be answered honestly before you consider purchasing our breed, or any other large breed. Realize first that the pup is going to take a lot of time and work because it is still a baby. Therefore, you must have the time and facilities available to take proper care of your puppy.

First, space is an important consideration. A shepherd is a large dog and even though your puppy may seem small at this time, it will definitely become much bigger. Large dogs must have a lot of exercise. If you are a regular runner (and this means in the winter months as well as the warmer months), and you can take the dog with you on a daily basis, a large yard may not be necessary. If you are a couch potato, or somewhere in between, you should have a fenced yard for the dog to get plenty of exercise. A dog kept in a small area has no way of "running off" its energy and will become a problem.

Second, do you have the time and energy to work with your puppy? A puppy is going to take a lot of time and patience. Your puppy will not grow up overnight and will need a lot of gentle guidance.

Third, do you have some way of containing the puppy until it has matured enough not to hurt itself or to destroy the house? Along with veterinarians and animal rescue groups, we recommend keeping the puppy in a crate.

Fourth, do you have children and will they be taught to treat the dog gently? A puppy can be a great companion to a child but is not a toy for them to hit, sit on, pull, tug, kick, etc. For your puppy to grow up with a good temperament, it must be treated humanely by everyone in the family.

We have bred, raised and loved these puppies from day one. We know they will make excellent family members if raised properly. We want them all to go to good homes where they will be happy, so please understand the breeders' desire to be sure one of their puppies is right for you.

Jeanneane Kutsukos
Copyright 1990   All Rights Reserved.
Elite K9 Academy
Jupiter, FL

Crate Training
Jeanneane Kutsukos
The Crate is a Puppy's Safe Haven

When you bring your puppy home for the first time, pick out a location for the puppy's bed that is safe and comfortable. One of the best house breaking and containment methods is to put your puppy in a crate. Some people think a crate is mean or cruel, it is the complete opposite, it is a "home" or a safe haven for your pet. Keep the crate door open when you are home and close the door when you are sleeping or out of the house or cannot watch it. If the puppy is not cooperating and does not want to enter the crate, put a few treats in it at first to entice the puppy to enter.

The Crate Minimizes Damage
The crate minimizes the potential damage that the puppy might do to your house and furniture. This also helps to minimize your anger at the puppy for doing "puppy things,"--chewing, pulling at things, etc. The crate protects the puppy from harming itself, for example, choking on small items, shock from chewing through wires, pulling items down on it and so many more!

The Crate is a Puppy's Den
When dogs were in the wild, they would often "burrow" into the ground to create a den for safety. A crate is your puppy's "den." You need a crate that is large enough for your puppy to turn around in comfortably. Block part of the crate off if you purchase a large crate for later use. Your puppy will try not to soil its "home." Do not expect your puppy to "hold" for long periods of time. Do not put your puppy in a crate and expect it to stay there all day without soiling it. It can not! You must remember it is still a baby.

Where to Put the Crate?
Dogs like to be near their family and that means you. When the puppy first comes home, put the crate next to your bed so you will wake up during the night when the puppy needs to go outside. You can also reach down and reassure the puppy if it cries during the night. Do not, under any circumstances, put the puppy in bed with you unless you intend for it to sleep there as an adult. It is very difficult for the puppy to understand if you allow it there at the beginning and then do not want it in your bed later. Keep in mind if you are single and then marry, it could cause a real problem.

Keep the Crate Clean!
Do not force a puppy to remain in a soiled crate. You must arrange your schedule to avoid this from happening. Clean out the crate regularly! We recommend that you use a non-ammonia cleaner, because ammonia is similar to a puppy's urine, the smell will attract him and he will repeat the behavior. You may want to purchase commercial dog soiling cleaners at a local pet store. Do not punish the dog if it soils the crate. Remember, a new puppy needs to go out every 2 hours, for example, each time it eats, wakes up, after a play session, and any other time it starts "sniffing" around the area.

My Puppy is Now an Adult
You will not need to continue crating once your dog becomes an adult (and is trustworthy), but your dog will probably enjoy the continued use of the crate as it's own special place. If you decide not to keep the crate, slowly wean it off once the dog is older and you are able to trust it in your home.

NEVER Use the Crate as a Punishment!
Written and Contributed by Jeanneane Kutsukos

Copyright 1990   All Rights Reserved.